Thursday, April 14, 2011

Face To Face

Two and a half weeks ago, 8 hours from home, I fell in love all over again. That’s when I met the new man in my life. His name is Leo. Leo the Chinese Lion. And he is absolutely the mostly cuddly, sweet, fluffy, snugglishious grey kitty I’ve ever seen!

And I owe it all to Chrystal of Daily Dose of Dogs (AKA Cats With Your Coffee)! She is a private rescuer who took in a family of 6 little feral kittens last October, one of which is Leo. She’s an amazing woman with a heart as big as all outdoors! If you want to read about Leo from his very beginning, check out her blog. Leo’s story starts in the archives on October 8th.

That is the day I first set eyes on Leo, even before he had a name. I saw that little grey face with the huge scared eyes and my heart melted. I looked for mention (and pictures!) of him over the next few months and I shared the stories with my husband, Greg. I kept telling him that if we lived closer I’d want to try to adopt him. Of course, neither of us thought our older kitty, Star, would accept another kitty even if we did live closer. So I tried to content myself with pipe dreams of that fuzzy little baby.

I would joke with Greg about trying to contact Chrystal to ask about Leo, and we’d laugh because it seemed such a far fetched thing. Then something odd began happening. Greg started talking like maybe it didn’t have to be a joke or pipe dream. Then I started thinking he was the crazy one. Didn’t he know how far away this kitty was? He knew I was a little jealous that Star was HIS kitty. I’ve always loved cats and always had one or more. But this kitty, an only kitty for many years, slowly had transferred from being my kitty, to being his. She loves him deeply and completely.

If I’m holding Star and Greg comes in, she leaves me for him. If he’s sleeping, she will let me pet her as she lays on my book. But if Greg so much as shifts a finger, she rushes over to him to see if he will pet her! I’m only good enough for her if he’s not around. Yes, I think it’s funny, but I want a cuddly cat too!

So back to Leo. I tried to contact Chrystal a few times and heard nothing. Then one day I got an email saying she’d been trying to contact me! I have no idea why I didn’t get her e-mails, I’d even checked my spam folder several times. Whatever the reason, we got in contact with each other finally and I told her how much I would love to have Leo. We e-mailed back and forth a few times and it just became more and more obvious that this could really happen! Greg even decided to ask for a few days off so we didn’t have to wait for vacation to go get the kitty!

Fast forward to two and a half weeks ago and we loaded up my mom’s van with a kitty carrier, kennel, and gifts for the special woman about to make my dreams come true! Saturday as we prepared to check out of our hotel we got a call, Chrystal and Leo were there! If we hadn’t had trouble with the hotel doors and keys and manager we’d have been at the gas station to meet them in, I swear, 3 minutes! I was that excited! I don’t know how long it actually took, probably no more than 15 minutes that felt like an hour, but we pulled into the gas station and looked around for a car with someone looking for us.

We pulled into the just vacated spot next to Chrystal and I was beside myself with excitement! I had to slow down enough to give her the things I’d brought for her and her kitties because I knew once I got my hands on Leo I’d totally forget what I wanted to say! Still, we quickly got to the main event, the transfer of Leo The Chinese Lion! She handed us her carrier, and I asked Greg to get in the back of the van with me in case he got out and ran around and I couldn’t catch him. I was prepared for the worst.

I needn’t have worried. I opened the carrier and he sat there looking at me with huge gold eyes. I reached in to get him out, not an easy task, but I finally pulled him into my arms and he melted into my chest! This was not going to be one of those don’t-touch-me kitties! I wanted to just sit there and hold him, but Chrystal was waiting, so I reluctantly put him into the carrier. Chrystal had suggested the carrier rather than the kennel right away so he would feel enclosed and safe. He went to the back of the carrier and huddled.

We gave Chrystal back her carrier and after hugs and well wishes, we headed out for out 8 hour drive home. Was it excitement, I wonder, that had Greg get on the highway in the wrong direction? I don’t know, but I, for one, thought it was too funny! If you know Greg, you know that this kind of thing rarely ever happens to him, so when it does, I gotta tease! Love you Greg!

We got turned around at the first exit and about 20 minutes into our drive, I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to get him out of the carrier and into my arms. It was a lot harder to get him out of my carrier because it has a rim and he’s a very strong boy! But I got him out and he immediately crawled up to my shoulder, snuggling under my neck and leaning into my head. Ok, I thought, this is good for a minute.. But I can’t see him! I could, however, pet him, and I did. Eventually he started purring, but he refused to move from my shoulder!

Nothing I could do would entice him down. Sure, I could move him, put him in my arms, but within seconds he would climb back up to his spot. Stubborn! But at least I was holding him. He spent about half the trip on my shoulder, and half in the kennel. I don’t think he was fond of the kennel at all!

You can see the box I put in the kennel in the picture. I put it in there to give him a hidey hole to duck into, somewhere to feel safe and cozy.. Do you notice something? Like how it’s WAY too small for him! I never expected him to be so huge! I figured six months old; he’s going to be half grown, a teen kitty. But wow, he’s bigger than my Star who’s about 14! Given the size of his feet, regardless of the extra toes, I think he’s still got some growing to do, he’s gonna be a very big fluffy boy!

We arrived home fairly late. But I think I’ll tell the story of his first night and the following days in another post as this is running a lot longer than I intended for my first post! There are many more wonderful tales to come, including how I just knew Leo was meant to be mine.


love-from-alaska said...


so I will tell the story of when I came home to find Leo.

It was around 2 am when I came home and I asked to see Leo because I was told I wasnt aloud to get him put till the am. So Aunt Andrea said I could go into his room and I was told they haven't seen him since they got home. When I went into his room I got him to come out of hiding and he went around my legs and purred up a storm. I was getting hungry and left him in his room but he could see me. He would not stop talking to me! he just wanted me to be in with him some more, so I did for a bit then left the room and he talked more and more then when he couldnt see me he got louder!

I was like "cool he likes me the most and is 'my cat'" But oh no from the next day on he is all Andrea's cat!

thats all i have to say, oh and Andrea should post the vids i have oh his 1st night and a funny one!

Anonymous said...

Your own blog!!!!!
Way to go, Andrea. I hope you have a wonderful time blogging about your kitties. I'm going to send people over from my blog.
Much love,

Kea said...

We follow Chrystal's blog, so we're thrilled Leo now will be blogging too! If you haven't already, go to the Cat Blogosphere and post your blog URL on the Mr. Linky (have to do this each day you post). A lot of kitties would love to see how Leo settles into his forever home!

-Nicki, Derry and mom Kim at Fuzzy Tales

Random Felines said...

We came over from Chrystal's as well and love that Leo has hit the jackpot. We can't wait to hear more about his adventures!!!

Tama-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette, Ollie, Hotesse & Heloise said...

Welcome to the Cat Blogosphere. We are fans of Chrystal' all the way from France and are so delighted you adopted Leo!

Purrs, Woofs and Neighs,
The Poupounette Gang 3 cats, 1 dog and i horse!)

pbgmomof5 said...

Welcome Leo and family. I have been a follower and friend of Chrystal's for a long time. It makes me so happy to see her sweet little fosters getting happily settled in the furever homes all around the country. It is truly a miracle of love! Can't wait to hear about Leo's new life everyday!

Cat said...

Hi Andrea and welcome to blogging! I enjoyed reading your story on Chrystal's blog and am thrilled that you have started your own so we can watch Leo grow into a fantastic mancat.

I thought he looked a lot like my Jimmy only fluffier. Jimmy used to be Ash and was Winnie's Wish first adoption. We drove ten hours from Canada (one way) to get him and he is just the most lovely boy :-)

We're following you and look forward to reading all about Leo and Star!

Amy & the house of cats said...

Hi Andrea!! This is Trixie - Leo's sister (formerly known as Tuxie). I am so glad that you started a blog so that I can keep an eye on my brother! I am glad you have found what a sweetheart he is - he was bigger than me but always good to me. I am so glad he has a wonderful forever home now (and my new mom said to mention that you should be very happy that our house is at full capacity and that no one snatched me up because mom also loved him from his pictures and if I had been spoken for she would have adopted him). Ok, mom wants to post now.

Hi Andrea! Wow, it is so funny reading your story because it is almost identical to how we decided we could make room for Trixie - we didn't have as much of a distance issue but more a full house kind of thing. But we kept joking and eventually got serious and decided she had to be our baby! We were a bit the opposite when it came to size expecations though - Trixie was so tiny compared to what we are used to (there is a picture of Trixie and Leo together on Chrystal's blog that will give you an idea of how much smaller she is).

Anyway we are all excited to follow your familys adventures with it's new member and we hope you will stop by to visit us too - since Trixie and Leo are actual relatives (even down to all those toes) it just seems extra special!

Andrea and the Celestial Kitties said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I'm so glad that so many people care about Leo because I just love him to death!

Amy, I know exactly what you mean. I have been reading your blog every since you adopted Tuxie just because she's Leo's sister! Even before I knew he was going to be mine! Gotta love them extra toes!

Kat's Kats said...

Audrey says, "YAY!! Mom & dad felt the same way about me! Mom kept looking and looking at my picture. Mainly because I look soooOOOooo much like my twin brother of another mother Star. She and Jennifer and Corwyn (but mainly mom and Jennifer) kept talking about me to to dad. Dad says he doesn't like any of us because we won't fetch slippers or fix dinner like his friend's dog Sadie would (we laugh when he says that because he's always petting us when he does it!). But when I hadn't found a home for years and years after my litter brother Ash found his Forever Home, dad said I could come live here with the rest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Kitty Horde in my new Forever Home."

Star says, "Heyla! My formal name is StarWalker BitCat the ComputerKitty and Audrey was named Lady Audrey Nova StarWatcher in honor of my late brother StarWatcher who also looked like us. Is your Star short for anything?? Inquiring Ninjas would like to know."

Andrea and the Celestial Kitties said...

Star is not short for anything. It's the name she came with. I'm pretty sure they gave it to her because she has this very tiny little white dot on her chest though the rest of her is solid gray. I'll tell her story soon!
Love your kitty's names Kat!

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

Hi Andrea,

Welcome to Leo. We are so happy that yoo have a forever home now.